McCully Workshop Inc.
Band members Related acts
- Richard Black - vocals, lead guitar
- Mick McCullagh - drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Tully McCullagh - vocals, guitar, bass
- Rupert Mellow - vocals, keyboards
Grade (cover/record): V
GEMM catalog ID: 4
LP: 1970, Trutone, STO 727
Sleeve notes for 2003 Korean re-issue:
Website describes McCully Workshop's first album like this: "Of all the
albums we've heard from South Africa this one is topscore. What a beautiful
masterpiece. Pepper-influenced Underground music with great songs, lovely
vocals, strong harmonies, great distorted guitarwork."
"My brother [Mike] who plays drums and myself would play around and
record ourselves in the lounge, I was about nine at the time. We recorded a
track called 'Swinging Time' with some other friends when I was thirteen and
sent it to a record company. The track didn't get anywhere but it was quite
interesting. We grew a bit more and when I was sixteen (and Mike 22) we
started a band called McCully Workshop and a whole string of other bands and
I started a garage studio." – Tully McCully
It did happen. It's still happening and we hope it will go on happening for a long time to come as more addicts become 'hooked' on McCully Workshop sound.
Producing it wasn't all that simple.
"Tully, put the cans on," comes through the speaker in Billy's dulcet tones. Everybody puts the cans on. What they hear is Tully telling them with a good deal of candid soul-searching why he couldn't do that particular number. General collapse and recording adjourned for some canned compensation.
Rich embellishes the interval with a few ninths and diminished chords while Tully murmurs, "That won't fit," or Mm, maybe," or suddenly "Hell, that's great. Do it again." Ian is heard muttering that in America the brass section has it scored for them and promptly scores a big nil by tripping over the nearest mike.
"Could happen," says Billy.
"How about this before the lead comes in?" says Mike and the peace is shattered by a furiously intricate four bar roll. "Lousy!" comes back the chorus in four party harmony with a vulgar noise from the trumpet. Billy leaps to his feet and smashes another globe in the ceiling.
"Ridiculous. Man, it's a gas. We'll use it."
Piet Obermeyer, November 2002
01) 'Why Can't It Rain'
Listening to this song makes me realize how much talent McCully Workshop had. Even after all these years, it sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded. 'Why Can't It Rain' was very popular in South Africa when it was first released and made #12 on the Springbok Radio Charts. It is a pity that Tully always refused to do a live version at the Fairmead Hotel!
02) 'Hardcase Woman'
Interesting guitar work by Allan with a nice bass riff from Tully.
03) 'Ice Lovers'
Nice song with a strong melody. Ian's flute complements the song very well. The "feel" of this song is typical of the 1970 era with influences from many contemporary artists.
04) 'Four Walls'
Features Ian Smith on trumpet. Not as strong as some of the other songs on the album, but easy to listen to.
A very interesting song with a strong melody and some good guitar work from Allan and organ backing from Glenda.
06) 'Rush Hour At Midnight'
The first impression I get when listening to this song is that it escaped from the musical 'Hair'. Nice vocal harmonies and a good song overall.
07) 'Jackin' Around'
The opening song on the second side of the original album. The title of the song says it all. Mike doing his thing on the drum kit towards the end of the track.
08) 'Head For The Moon'
I also feel like departing for the moon somedays. A sweet song with a pleasant melody and one of my favorites on the album. The trumpet blends in well with the rest of the band. Looks like Tully started practicing to sing 'Blues in C Minor' (from 'Ages' album) if you listen to the "announcement" at the start of this song.
09) 'The Circus'
Something different although not one of my favorites on the album. Nice vocal harmonies.
10) 'Years Of My Life'
Starting with a serious church organ, this track unfolds to a refreshing ballad with a cool melody. Sounds like early Byrds, but still distinctly McCully Workshop.
11) 'Fast Car'
The opening riffs of this song reminds me of the music they used play at the Boswell Wilkie circus. Not one of my favorite songs, but obviously a filler on the album.
The other side of life? A serious song with quiet vocals from Tully, nicely complemented with flute and guitar.
Since 1965, the McCullagh brothers, Tully (Terence) and Mike, have become
an integral part of the South African rock and pop scene. They first started
as the Blue Three with Richard Hyam (who later formed Pendulum) and their
first album 'McCully Workshop Inc' came out in 1970 and included the epic
and powerful 'Why Can't It Rain' which went to #12 on the Springbok Radio
The Best Years Of Your Life
Excerpts from an interview with Tully taken from the Paul Bothner website
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Workshop Revisited
Company: Nitty Gritty Records
Catalog: NGC 1018
Country/State: South Africa
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG
Comments: original South African pressing
GEMM catalog ID: 4746
Following a personnel change that saw keyboardist Rupert Mellor added to the line up the band returned with their fourth studio set - 1977's "Workshop Revisitied". Anyone expecting to hear a collection similar to their earlier psychedelic moves is gonna' be disappointed by this set since the closest it gets to that genre is via the name of studio where the set was recorded - Tully McCullagh's Spaced Out Sound Studios. That said, the set offers up a surprisingly varied and enjoyable collection touching on everything from African-flavored pop ('African Drums') to American disco ('Dancin' Tonite'), with stabs at blues, country, progressive, and conventional rock. Having listened to the album dozens of times, with the exception of a couple of bland ballads (notably 'Please Help Me Girl') most of the 12 tracks boast at least some feature that makes them worth hearing a couple of times. Among the highlights are the catchy 'Chinese Junkman' (hard to imagine an American band daring to sing such socially out of synch lyrics), 'Buccaneer' (which some people seem to think is the best South African rock song ever written) and the reggae-flavored 'Man On the Moon'. The band also enjoyed two massive regional hits via:
- 1977's 'Chinese Junkman' b/w 'And I'm Lonely' (Nitty Gritty catalog number NGS 170)
- 1978's 'Buccaneer' b/w 'Please Help Me Girl' (Nitty Gritty catalog number )
The album won't change your life in any way, but it is surprisingly enjoyable and one that I play on a regular basis (off of a CDR that I've made).
"Workshop Revisited" track listing:
1.) African Drums (Mike McCullagh - Tully McCullagh) - 3:30
2.) Chinese Junkman (Mike McCullagh) - 3:00
3.) Come Let Me Love You (Rupert Mellor) - 4.00
4.) The Train (instrumental) (Richard Black) - 4.12
5.) Please Help Me Girl (Tully McCullagh) - 2.20
6.) Fame And Fortune (Mike McCullagh) - 3.25
2.) Buccaneer (Mike McCullagh) - 4.45
3.) And I'm Lonely (Rupert Mellor) [3.30]
4.) Man On The Moon (Richard Black) - 3.20
5.) The Right Time (And The Right Place) (Rupert Mellor) - 3.28
6.) All In The Game
(Tully McCullagh) - 4.52
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